Jurors learned Thursday that Kwame Kilpatrick’s mistress, wife, children and father all received money from the mayor’s charity as prosecutors narrowed in on mail and wire fraud accusations in the corruption trial.
Testimony showed mistress Christine Beatty was paid more than $100,000 from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund after resigning in 2008 amid the text-message scandal. Defense lawyers say the expense was legitimate because Beatty worked on a brochure touting the mayor’s accomplishments.
After telling jurors Wednesday about yoga lessons, counter-surveillance equipment and ritzy jaunts bankrolled by the Civic Fund, prosecutors focused on allegedly illegal expenses charged to the charity.
Those included summer camp fees for his kids and the son of indicted ex-Detroit Treasurer Jeff Beasley.
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday in federal court.
Live Updates EndedPlease read below for an archived view of this event.
Kwame Kilpatrick tried to spend $10,000 in charity cash buying furniture from the Manoogian Mansion when he resigned amid the text-message scandal in 2008, a witness testified Thursday.
Mary Fleming, a board member of the Manoogian Mansion Restoration Society, testified about the attempt as prosecutors tried to prove money from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund was misspent on the mayor’s personal expenses.
Fleming testified a $10,000 check was delivered by the mayor’s cousin, Nneka Cheeks in September 2008.
When Cheeks first delivered the check, Fleming rebuffed her, saying the Manoogian charity could not accept money from the Civic Fund.
“When I first received (the check), I was disappointed, it was supposed to be on a personal check,” Fleming testified.
Fleming called the mayor.
“He said, ‘Oh, sorry, it was the wrong check,’” Fleming testified.
Kilpatrick said he would send a personal check and that the $10,000 Civic Fund check would be donated to the Manoogian society.
Kilpatrick eventually purchased the furniture via a personal check.
Each outgoing mayor has the option of purchasing furniture inside the official mayoral residence, Fleming said.
Cheeks pleaded guilty on Sept. 23, 2011, to charges that she took almost $20,000 from a fund she ran to restore and maintain the city’s official mayoral residence.
Cheeks pleaded guilty to racketeering and embezzlement from the charity and was given five years of probation and ordered to repay about $34,000.
A Kwame Kilpatrick aide who held the purse strings to the mayor’s charity conceded she did not know why the mayor’s father received $50,000 from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund.
April Edgar testified she was ordered to pay the money from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund to Bernard Kilpatrick’s consulting firm Maestro & Associates in 2008.
“Because you were not involved in the day-to-day operations, you wouldn’t know what role Bernard Kilpatrick had with the Civic Fund?” Bernard Kilpatrick lawyer John Shea asked Edgar.
Edgar admitted she did not know what role, if any, Bernard Kilpatrick had with the charity, which prosecutors allege the mayor treated like his personal piggy bank. The charity was set up to benefit the community and support education.
“You wouldn’t have any reason to know whether Bernard Kilpatrick had done anything to earn those checks?” Shea asked.
“Correct,” Edgar said.
Shea did not offer a reason but suggested Bernard Kilpatrick was owed money from years before Edgar was involved in signing Civic Fund checks in 2008.
Edgar became a signer of the checks after her half-sister, Kwame Kilpatrick mistress Christine Beatty, resigned from City Hall amid the text-message scandal.
Prosecutors allege Bernard Kilpatrick shared in the proceeds from a vast racketeering conspiracy headed by his son. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of charges that include racketeering conspiracy, extortion and filing false tax returns.
Kwame Kilpatrick was under siege by the media and desperate to rehabilitate his image in 2008 when his charity spent money on personal expenses for the mayor, his mistress and family, defense lawyer James C. Thomas said.
Thomas also defended more than $100,000 in Kilpatrick Civic Fund payments to the mayor’s mistress, Christine Beatty. The payments were legitimate because Beatty — who had resigned amid the text-message scandal — was working on a brochure promoting the mayor’s accomplishments.
Earlier testimony showed Beatty essentially paid herself for the work. One $50,000 Civic Fund check was signed by Beatty. She filled out another $60,000 check from the Civic Fund, according to testimony.
Thomas questioned former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar about fall 2008 before the mayor resigned under pressure amid fallout from the text-message scandal.
“His image was under siege by the media during the time we are describing,” Thomas said to Edgar.
“Yes,” she said.
Thomas has suggested using Kilpatrick Civic Fund money to help the mayor’s image was a legitimate expense for a charity set up to benefit the community and support education. Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick defrauded donors of the charity by spending money on personal expenses, which violated IRS tax laws.
Edgar signed many of the Civic Fund checks that went toward Kilpatrick’s personal expenses.
“Did you feel like you were doing anything illegal?” Thomas asked her.
“No, I didn’t,” Edgar said.
Edgar conceded, however, she wasn’t sure about the charity’s purpose.
“I wasn’t clear what could or couldn’t be paid,” Edgar said.
Kilpatrick did not have any income after resigning in September 2008 and leaving Wayne County Jail in early 2009, Thomas said. During that period, Kilpatrick’s charity paid moving expenses for his family and other personal bills.
Edgar also left City Hall when Kilpatrick resigned but wasn’t out of work for long.
She landed a gig at a Detroit firm called Xcel Construction Services.
The firm’s founder: Kilpatrick pal and co-defendant Bobby Ferguson.
The parade of people who pocketed cash from Kwame Kilpatrick’s charity included a key aide who will testify against the former mayor soon, according to testimony.
DeDan Milton received $5,000 from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund in November 2008, two months after the mayor resigned. The payment was ordered by the mayor’s sister, Ayanna Kilpatrick Ferguson, according to testimony.
“Why?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar.
“Ayanna Kilpatrick told me to,” Edgar said.
“Why?” Bullotta asked.
The check memo read “consulting.”
Milton is a longtime friend and former executive assistant to Kilpatrick.
He admitted taking about $16,000 in kickbacks in connection with two city land sales. Milton was sentenced to three years and six months in prison.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen also ordered Milton to serve two years of supervised release after he gets out.
Milton, 40, is scheduled to be released from a Pennsylvania prison in August.
Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick defrauded donors of the charity by spending charity money on personal expenses, which violated IRS tax laws.
Edgar also received Civic Fund money, according to her own testimony.
She went to an Ohio indoor water park in 2008 with her husband and children.
“How did you pay for it?” Bullotta asked.
“The Civic Fund,” Edgar testified. “I talked to the mayor and he said it was OK for me to do it.”
“Did you do any Civic Fund business or fundraising?” while at the park, the prosecutor asked.
“No,” Edgar said.
Before Kwame Kilpatrick resigned in fall 2008, he gathered key aides at the Manoogian Mansion to plot how to liquidate his charity’s bank account, a key aide testified.
Kilpatrick said the charity’s money would be distributed to charities and to cover the cost of moving his family out of the mansion, the mayor’s city-owned residence, aide April Edgar testified.
But few charities benefited, Edgar said.
She was shown checks from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund that covered $7,000 in moving expenses for crews to move the family out of the Manoogian Mansion, plus $12,800 to lease a condominium at the Park Shelton on Woodward in Detroit.
Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick defrauded donors of the charity by spending money on personal expenses, which violated IRS tax laws.
Edgar also testified about a $1,228 in charity cash that paid for the mayor’s wife Carlita Kilpatrick and her children to stay at an indoor water park in October 2008, one month after her husband resigned.
Carlita Kilpatrick stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Texas under her alias, Carla Kitchen, the aide testified.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s police department bodyguards were used to shuttle checks from his charity to Detroit Metropolitan Airport to pay for flights for his wife and three sons.
Former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar, whose sister is Kilpatrick mistress Christine Beatty, made the admission Thursday during testimony in the corruption trial.
Edgar said two checks totaling $1,848 to Northwest Airlines in June 2008 covered flights for the mayor’s family. She was asked who ordered her to write checks from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund charity to cover the airfare.
“The mayor told me to,” Edgar said.
She said the checks were given to the mayor’s police bodyguards to take to the airport.
Prosecutors are building their case Thursday against Kwame Kilpatrick by alleging the mayor committed mail and wire fraud when his charity paid for ritzy hotel bills in Texas and other states and summer camp for his kids.
Former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar testified she used Federal Express to mail Kilpatrick Civic Fund checks to cover hotel bills in 2008, including several payments after Kilpatrick resigned as mayor.
Edgar said she was ordered to send checks by the mayor’s sister Ayanna Kilpatrick Ferguson. Ferguson, who testified before a federal grand jury probing the corruption case, was not charged.
The testimony Thursday took the government’s case beyond titillating details of Kilpatrick’s jaunts with his family and mistress Christine Beatty, and addressed allegations of mail and fire fraud.
From the indictment:
KWAME KILPATRICK did, for the purposes of executing the scheme and artifice to defraud described above, and attempting to do so, knowingly caused the items described below to be delivered by U.S. mail or commercial interstate carrier (Federal Express), such items being delivered according to the directions thereon, each such mailing constituting a separate count of this Fourth Superseding Indictment:
Kwame Kilpatrick’s charity paid $50,000 to Bernard Kilpatrick’s consulting firm and $4,500 to send the mayor’s two sons and a son of indicted ex-Treasurer Jeff Beasley to summer camp.
The expenses were one of several revealed in federal court as prosecutors try to prove the mayor spent charity money on personal expenses.
Early on, prosecutors focused on $50,000 paid to the Maestro & Associates, the consulting firm of the mayor’s father Bernard Kilpatrick.
“Why did you write this check?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked former Kilpatrick aide April Edgar.
“The mayor told me to,” Edgar said.
“Why?” the prosecutor asked.
“I never questioned what they were for,” Edgar said.
A $20,000 check to Bernard Kilpatrick’s firm was dated Oct. 29, 2008. That’s one day after Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty and agreed to spent 120 days in the Wayne County Jail.
By that time, Kilpatrick had resigned as mayor.
The order to write the check came from Kilpatrick’s sister, Ayanna Kilpatrick Ferguson, the aide said.
“When the mayor went to jail, Ayanna took over and told me to write the checks,” Edgar testified.
“Did you ever feel uncomfortable writing these checks?” Bullotta asked.
“Toward the end I did,” Edgar said.
Edgar testified she signed a check in April 2008 for Super Camp. That $4,500 check paid for summer camp for the kids.
Beasley was indicted in connection with a separate corruption case involving a Detroit pension fund. He is awaiting trial.
Edgar also testified about several hotel bills paid for by the Civic Fund. Interestingly, she revealed Kilpatrick used aliases when he stayed at a Texas resort in April 2008.
One alias was Kevin Kitchen. His wife Carlita Kilpatrick used Carla Kitchen.
“I’d use anonymous names for the mayor because of the media and the text-message scandal,” Edgar said. “It was the mayor’s idea.”
Edgar added to testimony Wednesday about Kilpatrick’s jet-setting lifestyle bankrolled by the charity.
Edgar testified about a trip to the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Texas in April 2008.
Bills show Kilpatrick and his wife stayed at the $250-a-night hotel and spent $215 at the salon on manicure and deep-tissue massage.
The charity also paid for hotel bills for Bernard Kilpatrick and indicted contractor Bobby Ferguson, according to testimony.
The charity also paid more than $65,000 to crisis PR guru Judy Smith, according to testimony. She was hired to handle fallout from the text-message scandal.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s mistress Christine Beatty paid her own consulting company more than $110,000 in March 2008 — money that came from the mayor’s charity, according to testimony.
Kilpatrick approved two payments to Beatty’s consulting company from the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, according to testimony. The payments came after Beatty resigned as chief of staff when steamy text messages emerged showing she had a sexual relationship with the mayor.
The admission came from Beatty’s sister, April Edgar, who worked as Kilpatrick’s official “scheduler.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bullotta asked if Kilpatrick approved the payments to Maiyen Consulting from his charity, which was set up for educational and community purposes.
“Yes,” Edgar said.
One $50,000 check was signed by Beatty. A $60,000 check was signed by Edgar, but she testified Beatty filled it out.
Edgar testified that she was tapped to sign checks from the mayor’s charity after Beatty resigned in March 2008.
Kilpatrick asked April Edgar to take over duties for her sister. Until then, she knew little about the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, but the mayor told her it was set up for “community purposes and educational purposes.”
Prosecutors allege Kilpatrick treated the charity as his personal piggy bank, using it to pay for ritzy stays at resorts in California and Colorado.
Here’s a public service announcement starring Edgar from a few years ago:
Former Kwame Kilpatrick spokesman Matt Allen never saw the mayor’s fundraiser pass him cash during meetings inside Kilpatrick’s 11th floor office.
Allen corroborated a part of fundraiser Emma Bell’s testimony from last week. She said she met privately in a room adjacent to Kilpatrick’s office that had a barber chair.
“Did you ever see Emma Bell give large amounts of cash to Kwame Kilpatrick?” defense lawyer James C. Thomas asked?
“No,” Allen said.
Allen testified about the mayor’s reaction to disclosure by a TV reporter about a trip Kilpatrick took to a California resort. The mayor’s charity, the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, spent more than $8,600 for a trip to the La Costa Resort and Spa for Kilpatrick’s family in August 2006.
Kilpatrick never told his spokesman that the charity, which was set up to aid youths and the community, paid for the week-long trip.
“I felt like I got burned,” said Allen, who tried to blunt media criticism after the trip became public.
Allen also praised his former boss, saying the city had great run before the text-message scandal.
“It was a wonderful period in the city’s history,” Allen said.
The feds could use a Kwame Kilpatrick impersonator to read and translate his text messages in federal court.
It’s odd to hear a white, 150 pound, maybe 5 foot 9 inches tall, IRS agent with a buzz cut read texts belonging to the black, beefy, towering, virile ex-con. It’s nowhere near as authentic as that scene from “Airplane!” with Beaver Cleaver’s mom.
The two were trading texts about a getaway to a luxury Colorado resort in early November 2002.
Beatty: “Are you ready for the 7th?”
Kilpatrick: “I’m soooo ready.”
In court Wednesday, Kilpatrick started laughing at the agent’s performance.
Sauer kept going.
Kilpatrick: “I booked my flight…I have the car reserved… All I need is you.”